Thursday, June 3, 2010

Elementary school mural getting a 'lighter' facelift

Cindy and Paula did a good job letting Councilman Blair vent on race, clearly pointing up the core of the story on criticism of the Miller Valley School mural. I have to wonder whether Mr Blair should really get so much credit for riling people up -- I'm not wild about that mural myself, for quite different reasons -- but given his history of race-baiting and generally dumbass remarks in public, he deserves it. "Diversity, it's a word I can't stand." Now there's a great little campaign bumper sticker!

I dislike the Miller Valley mural for the same reason I dislike the old mural in Council chambers -- pointless, self-congratulatory sentimentality and not particularly good art. I'm also getting a little tired of seeing murals from a single source all over town. Mr Wall is making a personal career on public money meant to support diverse community projects. If we're gonna do this and celebrate diversity, let's spread the wealth to some diverse artists and styles. Better yet, let's quit with the murals already. Remember the old Hillside grocery mural? I like it better now.

There is one common criticism the project doesn't deserve, though, and that's historic desecration. Miller Valley School is an historic structure, yes, built in 1916, but the muralized addition is clearly no older than the 1960s and not historically or architecturally significant.

What the reporters apparently did not explore is the shocking spinelessness of school officials in changing the mural to better suit the racists. In a paper known for an ironclad rule against the passive voice, that voice is used to hide who ordered the changes. I know Mr Wall would never alter the art on his own in this fashion.

PS, 3:30pm: Wow, 122 comments so far! And notice how many of them are under what look like real names. Good show, readers! Steve Stockmar also has a column up on the subject.

Update, Friday: Comment count now over 200, and over 50 on the editorial!


CL Craig said...

Thank you for your comments. I was at the MV mural dedication. There was a clear explanation that interprets the murals components. Sharing this would shed additional light on the subject. More importantly, please verify the actual funding source for this mural which you and others assume was paid for by the taxpayer. My understanding from the program I received and various speeches heard is that this mural was funded by two non-profit grants, Prescott Alternative Transportation (PAT) and Highlands Center for Natural History. Both organization have an integral educational relationship with the school. The school is mentioned as a mural sponsor though to an unknown level, but I doubt it was taxpayer funds. Please, talk with principal Mr. Lane to get us the facts.

Steven Ayres said...

Thanks, Charlene. According to the article the primary grant came through PAT from ADOT. Is that incorrect?

Jack Wilson said...

The Courier published a good editorial today (Friday) on this and they should be lauded for that. However, the damage has already been done and it will get worse. This morning the most read story in the Arizona Republic is "Altered mural fuels racial debate in Prescott" which you can read at
Now, it is only a matter of time before this story goes national and Prescott's "Dough Boy" tarnishes our image again.

CL Craig said...

Hi Steve, PAT and Highlands Center for Natural History were the two major noted contributors listed in the program. I believe ADOT funds some (or all) of the Safe Routes to School program that PAT uses to promote alternative transportation especially with children, so technically, but indirectly some ADOT funds may have been used for the mural. This is a gray area, so check with PAT:
FYI: The AP wire has picked this story up and it appeared in the Athens, Georgia Courier News this morning to start.